I was blown away by the Georgian salad which I had in Tbilisi and then again in the Qazbegi mountains. Greek-salad-style chunky, the ingredients are reminiscent of the Indian Kachumber (tomatoes, cucumber, onion). I have no doubt in my mind that the salads of these regions of the Silk Road have taught each other a thing or two.
Conspicuously absent are greens (arugula or kale or even the ubiquitous lettuce). Here I use seasonal green pea shoots, albeit in the pesto. I drop the cucumber, since we are already well into Autumn. I dare to add some raw beet (spiralized, of course, masquerading alongside the sliced Spanish onions) and a handful of the micro greens. Dressed generously in a walnut pesto, this salad is bound to steal your heart.
Food processor (for pesto); spiralizer (for beet).
- Pesto: 2 cups (green pea shoots and a little radish micro-greens) + 1 cup walnuts, toasted with one dried red chilli + 1/4 cup cheese + 2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice + salt, pepper to taste + 1/3 cup EVOO
- 2 cups medium sized tomatoes, halved or quartered + 1 Spanish red onion + 1 cup spiralized beet (raw) + 1/2 cup (pea shoots & micro radish greens)
- Topping: EVOO, a few crushed walnuts
Make the pesto in a food processor. Mix the salad ingredients. Scatter 3-4 dollops of pesto and a dash of the topping.
Notes, hints, tips:
- In the right season, you can add chunks of cucumber to the salad.
- Ideally I would have added parmesan cheese; instead I used cubes of Manchego cheese and a little goat cheese here.
- Beet is a very common ingredient of the region and I unabashedly use it in the salad here.
- In the Georgian salad the pesto is not mixed with the ingredients but placed in chunks over it. My friend even mistook it for broccoli.